Teachers strike to free asylum seeker

Issue 
Teachers and students take action for Mojgan Shamsalipoor.

More than 50 teachers at Yeronga State High School in Brisbane, including principal Terry Heath, held an afternoon strike on November 17 as part of their campaign to free 21-year-old Mojgan Shamsalipoor from immigration detention.

Shamsalipor, a student at the school, was only months away from graduating when her refugee status was denied. She was taken from Yeronga State High School on August 7, by armed immigration officials and transferred without warning to Darwin's Wickham detention centre. She had lived in the community on a bridging visa for two years and had married fellow student Milad Jafari.

Students joined teachers and parents in a rally outside the school, calling for the release of Shamsalipoor, who completed her Year 12 studies with the help of the school and hopes to become a midwife.

“This is a historic action,” the school's Queensland Teachers Union representative Jessica Walker said. “Teachers have taken industrial action because of human rights abuses for the first time. It is hugely significant and it's only the beginning.”

The rally called on immigration minister Peter Dutton to allow her to apply for a partner visa without the need to return to Iran. “He has the power to do that and we urge him to do the right thing,” Walker said.

Shamsalipoor fears she will be killed if she returns to Iran. She arrived in Australia in 2012 after fleeing sexual abuse and an arranged marriage to a man in his 60s.

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